Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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Cupcake by Rachel Cohn

After graduating from high school and reluctantly breaking things off with her long-term boyfriend Shrimp, spirited, sassy Cyd Charisse (call her CC) is ready to move on - or at least pretend that she is.

Though she loves her family and her home in San Francisco, CC can't wait to live it up in New York with her fantastic older half-brother Danny. She just knows life in the city will be great. After all, what could be better to distract her from Shrimp-missage than the larger-than-life Big Apple?

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men . . . and women named after famous dancers. While walking down multiple flights of steps, CC breaks her leg in three places. (No one ever said she had the grace of her namesake.) Being cooped up in Danny's apartment is not exactly what she had in mind. Luckily, her leg heals more quickly than her heart.

CC knows the value of a good friend, and she stays in touch with her old buds - like Autumn, who is attending college in New York - as she makes new ones - like Max, a cranky yet lovable middle-aged neighbor, and his cat. She keeps in touch with her mother, who both aggravates and oddly inspires her, and her half-sister lisBETH, who tends to simply aggravate her. Her bio-dad is still less of a presence in her life than her stepfather, but everyone is at least making an effort to reconnect. Though she continues to wonder what Shrimp is doing in New Zealand, a chance encounter with an old fling serves as a brief distraction.

What about her career? CC gets enrolled in a cooking class, but stops going when it isn't what she thought it would be, preferring to sample Danny's latest batch of cupcakes than make her own. While on the search for the perfect cappuccino CC stumbles upon the L U _ C H _ O N E _ T E, an old-fashioned-looking dinner run by a Goth-punk boy. In a matter of minutes, she has a new job and an unexpected ally.

Just when things are starting to look up, a blast from the past tears open that hole in her heart and makes CC re-evaluate her priorities and her life.

Author Rachel Cohn has created a unique and memorable character in Cyd Charisse. The girl readers know and love from the previous books has grown up before their eyes. CC thinks she is more independent than ever, yet becomes aware of her sometimes co-dependency on Shrimp and others. It is this kind of acknowledgment that shows her maturity, yet lack thereof. Though CC is constantly searching for freedom from her family, but not quite ready to be wholly on her own. Young adults and older teens who have gone through or are currently going through that same awkward period will definitely relate to her in more ways than one.

Readers first met CC in the book Gingerbread, then reunited with her in the follow-up novel Shrimp. Cupcake is the third and final book in the Cyd Charisse cycle. Due to CC's increased introspection and consideration, it is also the best. CC is older, wiser, and sassier. She's finally become comfortable in her own skin, and Cohn has given her a delicious send-off. Cupcake is a treat which teens and adults alike should indulge themselves in immediately!

For more about the other CC books, please check out my author spotlight for Rachel Cohn.
Tags: books, cybils, reviews

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